I have purchased my first Japanese maple, an A. Shirasawanum (Autumn Moon). Originally tagged at $150, I got this chopped little runt just as you see it, covered in aphids, from the wick bay at my favorite nursery for $25. In the last week and a half, I’ve used a systemic, alcohol, knife blade and paper towel to kill/remove the aphids, and replaced just the topsoil in the pot (original pot from the GC). As you can see, the fingernail test near the top of the cut trunk shows brown and dry. Should I cut it drastically near the base (red line in picture below)? Leave the wonky top? I’ve been doing junipers foe 3 seasons, and only just started getting into deciduous at all. This is my first Japanese Maple… Your suggestions and guidance are humbly requested!!!!